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The influence of posture duration on hand tremor during tasks with attention-distraction in persons with Parkinson's disease

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  • Anne Sofie Bøgh Malling
  • Bo Mohr Morberg
  • Lene Wermuth
  • Ole Gredal
  • Per Bech
  • Bente Rona Jensen
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BACKGROUND: Tremor is one of the hallmarks and most bothersome symptoms in Parkinson's disease (PD). The classical PD tremor is present at rest, but postural tremor also occurs. PD tremor can be continuous or intermittently present and can have a re-emergent nature. The tremor intensity is affected by attention and stress level. Observations of PD tremor have indicated increased tremor intensity with time during 30-s tremor assessments. This phenomenon has not previously been studied systematically. Thus, in order to contribute to our understanding of the mechanisms associated with PD tremor, our aim was to investigate the influence of time during a posture holding and a resting task on hand tremor characteristics in persons with PD compared to healthy peers.

METHOD: Fifty persons with PD and at least one tremoring hand (tremor intensity exceeding mean + 2SD of a healthy reference group (REF), N = 40) were included from a clinical trial population. Hand accelerations in a rest and postural condition were measured in 30-s assessments while the participants performed a self-paced simple subtraction task with eyes closed to standardize attention without inducing stress. Tremor intensity, maximal power, frequency of maximal power and tremor onset time was calculated for three consecutive 10-s time intervals.

RESULTS: Tremor intensity and maximal power increased significantly during the 30-s recording in the PD-group in both conditions (1st-3rd time-interval, tremor intensity: rest + 65% p < 0.0001, postural + 55% p < 0.0001; maximal power: rest + 93% p < 0.0001, postural + 82% p < 0.001). No effect of time was found on frequency of maximal power in the PD-group or on any effect measure in the REF-group.

CONCLUSION: Tremor intensity and maximal power increased with time in the PD-group during 30-s tasks, while no change with time was found in the REF-group. In contrast, frequency of maximal power remained unchanged, which may suggest that the same neural circuits were responsible for the tremor generation throughout the tasks. The increase in tremor intensity and maximal power could not solely be explained by re-emergence of tremor. This suggests an increasing or gradually more synchronized cortico-spinal drive throughout the tasks. However, this requires further studies to determine.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation
Volume16
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)61
Number of pages7
ISSN1743-0003
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28 May 2019

ID: 57758638